Sunday, 20 March 2011

N's 'In the Night Garden' Inspired Birthday Cake

My most lovely niece, N, had her 2nd birthday party this weekend. And it was my privilege to make her birthday cake which is usually a stress free pleasure. Unless my oven goes on the fritz the week before. So this cake was a battle of wills between me and it! lol. It took me an entire day baking cakes to get three good ones. Yep, that pushed my patience but thinking of little N's face kept me trying. I made simple vanilla cake's using a recipe I found posted on a few years ago. It's a really good and simple recipe...well...when it doesn't come out as flat as a frizzbe thanks to my oven! lol. Usually I sandwich the layers together with rasberry jam but this time I decided to use strawberry. No real reason other than I thought it would be nice for a change. lol. 

N is obsessed with In the Night Garden, a children's programe that is very popular in England, and had wanted an Upsy Daisy cake. But a cake sculptor I am not! lol. So I borrowed a book from her and used the Upsy Daisy pages as inspiration. My Love spent a couple of hours playing with the icing and colours to make them match the pages. (Huge thanks to My Love for saving me from a task that really would have tried my patience!! lol) And then rolled them out into shapes for me to cover the cake. The cutting out of the number two and N's name was very tricky I'm told and Im just relieved I didn't have to even attempt it. lol. Then it was my job to make it all look pretty. I did have fun cutting out the daisies though, I have to confess. lol.

The result was a pretty pink and daisy covered cake a la Upsy Daisy. We have picked up various little figures from the programe and set them around the cake. It was a long process making and icing this cake but we were very proud of the final product. We are by no means professionals...avid amateurs I would say. So it did have its imperfections but I think that's all part of the charm of homemade cakes.  

E-Mans Vanilla Cake      (One mix per layer)
1 cup of plain white flour (sifted)
1/2 cup plain wholemeal (sifted)
3/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup of sunflower oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of cold soy milk

Preheat the oven to 350'F/180'C/Gas mark 4. Line a nine inch round baking tin. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the egg replacer, milk, oil, lemon juice, sugar, and vanilla until completely combined. In a separate bowl, mix white flour and wholemeal flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Dig a well into the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the mixed wet ingredients. Gently stir the two together until it looks combined and until all large lumps are gone. Be sure not to overmix! Let the batter stand for 5 minutes. 

Pour the batter into the pan, place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 45 minutes.  

Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then leave out on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting or icing.

Before frosting, cut a thin slice off of the top of whichever cake is going to be the bottom layer. This way the cake will rest evenly on a flat surface.  

 A covered long last! Imperfect but pretty. 

A slightly different view and with one of us in the shadow. It was very late when these photos were taken lol. 

The completed cake with the book used for inspiration behind it. 

 Top view of the finished cake so you can see My Loves hard work lol. 

And the gang's all here...the almost entire cast of In a Night Garden! lol 

The final photo...'Upsy blinking Daisy' as she came to be known in our house! lol 

It was worth every second of work it took getting this cake to my sisters house for the party. And the little ones loved it. So our work was done! And I confess I spent most of the party sat cuddling my shiny new niece L so it was a fair trade! lol. Gotta love the little ones in all their many different characters and ways. Always worth the effort!